SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Blaze hits the road for the second straight week, this time traveling to Des Moines to take on the Iowa Barnstormers. Utah fell to San Antonio in the final seconds of their season-opener last weekend, while Iowa defeated the Spokane Shock in overtime on Monday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:05 PM (CST) at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday, March 17.
“Iowa has traditionally been one of the toughest places to play,” said President & Head Coach Ron James. “They’re a very well-coached team with one of the most respected and tenured head coaches in the league. This will be another stern test for us on the road. We’re really looking forward to the challenges the Barnstormers present.”
Iowa landed quarterback J.J. Raterink in the offseason, who led the Chicago Rush to the National Conference Championship game in 2011. Last week against the Shock, Raterink threw for 284 yards and seven touchdowns with no interceptions, hooking up with standout receiver Jesse Schimdt on four of his scoring completions. Schmidt returns to the Barnstormers after shattering team records in 2011 with 2,171 yards and 55 touchdowns on 168 receptions.
“Jesse Schmidt is one of the best receivers in the game today,” said James. “The tandem of Raterink to Schmidt posed big problems for the Shock up in Spokane last game. We need to be ready defensively for what they bring to the table this week.”
Utah is looking to continue improving its timing and rhythm on offense, again putting great emphasis on discipline during practice. The group was flagged 16 times for penalties against San Antonio in the opener. But with a young core of players, the Blaze will undoubtedly continue to develop and take even greater strides in Week Two.
“Our lack of a preseason game may have hurt our timing just a bit against the Talons,” said James. “We’ll work hard all week to develop the consistency we need to compete with a top-flight team like Iowa.”
Video broadcast of the Utah Blaze vs. the Iowa Barnstormers can be viewed online through the Arena Football League’s exclusive partnership with Ustream, the leader in live and interactive video streaming. Visit www.ustream.tv/UtahBlaze to stream the game live and at no cost!
The game can also be heard in the Salt Lake City area on The Zone 1280 AM/97.5 FM, the radio home of the Utah Blaze. Tune into the broadcast to hear Maure Baker (Play-by-Play) and Travis Abbott (Color Commentary) calling every score!